Want to get arrested? If you’re black, ride through Hoover

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Photo courtesy of http://www.hooverpd.com

Ok, maybe that headline is a little misleading. If you’re black, you may drive through any town and get arrested, doesn’t have to be Hoover.

But for the sake of this meandering dialogue, USA Today has published a report using data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation that proves, with evidence, that black people are arrested far more than other races.

Surprising? No. Interesting? Ehh, maybe a little.

According to the FBI, in 2012, Hoover’s arrest rate for black people per 1000 residents was 139. Non-blacks was about 33. That’s a fairly striking disparity.

So why now is this important? Frankly, contingent upon the hue of your pigmentation, it isn’t, specifically if you’re black. Getting pulled over – better yet arrested while driving as a black person – is almost a rite of passage in this country.

But because of what’s bubbling in Ferguson, Missouri, there is renewed focus on race, and how police officers treat black people.

Yet the most damning information emerging from this report is that of the over 3,500 police departments that had their arrest records examined, just 173 showed some form of racial equality when it comes to arrests.

Maybe that should be a war cry for a march, yes? “What do we want?” “Racial equality in arrest records!” “When do we want it!?” “Now!”

Not sexy or catchy, but it would certainly quell some fears. But, going back to Hoover, and Ferguson for that matter, these numbers are just that, numbers. We’ve become a nation obsessed with data, so we need a number to prove that our feelings of inequality are justified.

What should accompany this report on arrest disparities is one regarding differences in education, as well as variations in income. That may well explain why so many blacks are arrested compared to whites, errr, non-blacks.

Oh, and the imbedded racism that this country carries.

Besides the report, racism, and the unwritten rule about knowing where one shouldn’t drive while black, it’s likely not the grandest idea to ride through Hoover, at night, with a dark hue.

-JH

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